Our text is from the life of David and reminds us how all God's faithful servants must rely on their faith. Sarai, Abraham's wife, after ten years, said, 'Enough already, Abram! We've been waiting ten years and nothing has happened, so we've got it wrong. Maybe we should do something to help GOD. He told us we were going to have children like the stars in the sky; maybe we should be doing something.' That's a lapse of faith. She said, 'Here is my handmaid. The Egyptian maid, Hagar, take her as your wife, and if she has any children, we'll adopt them as our children. Maybe that's the way GOD meant it.' She never thought of saying, 'Let's ask GOD what's happening.' And as a result, Ishmael was born; the ancestor of all the Arab race. A lapse of faith. But we don't find any where that GOD condemned Sarai for it. He went ahead anyway and blessed her, but she had to wait twenty-five years before the promise came true.
David, that great man of faith; when at last his great friend, Samuel, died, felt his last prop had gone. Samuel had been his prop; whereas Saul, the king of Israel, was persecuting David, chasing him up and down the country, David still had his prop: Samuel, the Prophet. He could always turn to Samuel; he could always count on Samuel's prayers in his crisis. But now his prop was gone. What does David say?
'I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to go to the land of the Philistines.' His faith failed him at that crisis. GOD rescued him from his crisis, and from the predicament to which his crisis brought him. But you see how even great men of GOD; great women of GOD, can have their lapses. Don't be too hard on yourself. Just come back to GOD and say, 'LORD, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief.'
This faith here; this shield of faith; we are able, with it,
'to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one;'the fire arrows. They're symbolic of fiery trials; fiery temptations; evil thoughts. The devil knows very well that our most important stronghold is the mind. Once he can attack the mind, and short-circuit the mind, he's got us. Because then we are at the mercy of our emotions. It's our mind that keeps control of our emotions. So we have to guard our mind; the fiery darts.
Most of our battle is in the thought life. Most of our conflict is not in our ordinary outward life; but in our thought life. That's where the devil attacks us, with all kinds of evil suggestions, doubts, blasphemous thoughts. There is some one who is so attacked by these evil blasphemous thoughts, he felt he ought to kill himself. He was suicidal. But GOD rescued him on time.
Fire arrows. Let's look at the first Letter of Peter, Chapter 4; GOD will not leave us at the mercy of the devil. 1st Peter, Chapter 4, verses 12 and 13:
'Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you. But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Messiah's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.'
Did you know that those thoughts that foul up your mind, that cause you such anguish, that YESHUA, Himself, experienced them? I went to the Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts by Bill Gothard, and you know how we began one session; he said, 'I would like to know how many of you drivers here has ever been tempted to drive into the traffic going in the opposite direction. May I see your hands.' Hundreds of hands were put up! He said, 'You see, you're not alone.' He was making the point that we think, 'I'm the first one to whom these terrible thoughts have come.' No way! Even Messiah, Himself, experienced them. And so you can take courage; you can take comfort, 'My brothers and my sisters are going through the same troubles; the same trials. They have to put up with the same anguish that I'm experiencing.' That helps, doesn't it; it diffuses the situation. Makes us realize, 'Oh well, I'm not unique. There are others in the same boat as I am. And if they've managed to resist it, so can I, by the help of GOD.'
The wicked one, here, speaks about the devil. And we do believe, in a personal devil. There are very good Biblical reasons for believing in a personal devil. He's not just an influence; he's not just something vague and intangible. He is a fallen angel. He's a fallen archangel. He's very much a person. And another reason why we believe in the person of the devil; not only because the Bible says so, but because we also believe in the Holy Spirit as a person.
The Holy Spirit is as much a person as this evil spirit. Only the Holy Spirit is Divine; whereas satan is not. He is the wicked one; he is the one of whom the LORD, YESHUA spoke as the 'strong man armed,' who keeps his goods in peace; but he says, 'I, the stronger than he, has come upon him, and bound him and taken away his armour and spoiled all his house.' That is the
'shield of faith,'and with this, we can
'quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.'
To recap, look to YESHUA; take this Word. One dear Christian lady who is a personal friend of mine, said in her autobiography; (her memoirs), that at one point in her life, she was tormented by bad thoughts. She used to have nightmares. She found what the antidote was. 'Before I went to bed,' she said, 'I read the Bible. I read the Bible, and that way, I fortified my mind with the pure Word of GOD and the nightmares stopped; so did the bad thoughts.' Here is our protection.